What we think | Sales & Business Leader Perspectives

The confluence of humility, hunger and vision in Business Leadership – View of an Industry Veteran


Rakesh Jinsi

President, SOS Children’s Villages of India

What is a client centric culture? How can organizations adopt it?

Organizations tend to view customer centricity as a key process, but a stand-alone process that lies in the hands of the customer service department. And that should never be the case, it must be integral to the entire organization and built into the culture and DNA of the organization.

Every employee must understand the value of customer centricity and make it his or her work philosophy. If this is done, customer centricity becomes sustainable, and the real passion of serving customers will manifest itself. And organizations must create a customer centric ambience and replicate customer touchpoints which allows employees to connect with customers physically and virtually.

What is ‘Execution”? How can we ensure plans become reality?

When it comes to execution and translating plans into action, there are two approaches viz Top Down or Bottom Up.

  • When it is a top-down approach where the executive management cascades goals, it is likely to have only a marginal success
  • But the moment leaders start involving the entire organization into the vision of co creation and goal setting then high employee commitment is a

natural outcome and success is manifold This could be done even in very large organisations through Large Scale Interactive Process (LSIP). And what is more important is the loop must be closed with the employees after these strategic meetings with communication of the plan which is broken down into meaningful goals for every function, employees etc and linking it up with the PMS. Reporting and monitoring mechanism are set up and this is a Plan –Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA)cycle on a continuous basis.

Goodness and the Corporate world seem to be at loggerheads. Once leaders begin to be good and honest human beings automatically their performance will improve and so will the businesses they lead.


What are the biggest challenges leaders of today are grappling with?

This is indeed a tough one, however I think there are 5 key ones that leaders are finding it difficult to come to terms in today’s context:

  1. Uncertainty–We really don’t know how the tomorrow will dawn; It is a huge scare. There are so many different and dynamic factors surrounding us that we don’t know what will influence the businesses
  2. Information – Today we are confronted with a deluge of information from multiple channels. Leaders are finding it difficult to manage and pick the pertinent ones that will help their businesses
  3. Flexibility – As much as leaders think they are flexible, there must be more preparedness/ability in responding to the business dynamics more frequently and swiftly
  4. Knowledge – Leaders can never afford to stop learning. They must upskill themselves without hesitation and be on top of trends that will impact their businesses
  5. Talent–At the end of the day businesses are only people. If leaders are able to attract and retain talent, then most of their problems are resolved

What were some great contributions made by organizations to team development?

I am proud and happy to say that I spent my first 20 years of my working life with an organization which enabled me to develop the skills and capabilities to become an effective leader. The organisation reposed tremendous trust in me and invested in me enormously. I was made to handle different functions, very critical roles, in the process taking huge risks. The entire team supported & guided me formally and informally to ensure that I succeed in my role/task. And that is when I realised the power of teamwork, and in this case, it was both a formal and informal team. The organisation gave me a role far beyond my knowledge, skill and experience putting at risk 25% of the company’s turnover. With all this, I was energised to put in my best, I just couldn’t let all of them down. It changed my perspective and made me understand the power of teamwork and trust.

What are the mistakes leaders frequently make? Many a times leaders fail to handle people/teams properly. This is the single largest mistake made by leaders and causes serious damage to businesses in terms of reputation as well as results.


What are the traits that have made leaders falter and affect their careers?

There are two components of Leadership, Character and Competence. Irrespective of industry, size or geography, there are universally applicable code of conduct and business ethics. And there are also some non-negotiable tenets that no organization or company can compromise. When leaders move away from these ethical behaviours it will cause irreparable damage to their careers. So, as business leaders they have the moral responsibility to conduct themselves righteously and lead by example.

What is a toolkit that emerging leaders must have?

Leaders must learn to be good human beings. Entire focus these days is on domain related knowledge and skills, in the process forgetting the human aspect. Leaders must be ready to unlearn and relearn. Goodness and the Corporate world seem to be at loggerheads. Once leaders begin to be good and honest human beings automatically their performance will improve and so will the businesses they head.

What is the business morale around you now?

Well, as I see people can be put in two groups these days:

  1. One group which has evolved and is able to understand truly well the different conditions that surround them, and they comprehend why some of the global disruptions are happening. They understand that this is a natural and ongoing process of cleansing.
  2. The other is still evolving, and are caught up in the maelstrom of change and get confused quickly, and this is where there is despair and despondency.

But both groups are required to maintain equilibrium in the world.

How do you handle failure?

It is one of the best things that can happen to an individual. This is exactly the period when maximum learning happens and clarity dawns. Difficult personal experiences have made me into a more complete person enabling me to weather storms in the business context much better than many others.

How do we deepen relationships with our stakeholders?

Only a relationship without an agenda will flourish. It must reside on trust, sincerity, truthfulness and should value the aspect of being a good human being. In fact, I have had some wonderful long-lasting associations with suppliers, customers colleagues only because there was no agenda to any of these relationships.

What are the keys to developing the next generation of leaders in your world?

The conversation goes back to the importance of Character. While competence is essential but without character it is of little use. We need wholesome people as leaders with high focus on Character, essential ingredients being:

  • Ethics (Righteous means to achieve desired business results)
  • Diversity (acknowledge and use the uniqueness of individuals for the larger good)
  • Mindfulness (No regrets for the past or the worries of future, live and act in the present)
  • Sustainability (Maintain balance between the material and Spiritual aspect)
  • Compassion (go beyond empathy and act to help those in need)

Rakesh Jinsi

President, SOS Children’s Villages of India
A veteran with over 41 years of diverse and extensive work experience in the Automobile, Not for Profit and Education sectors.

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